On Vulnerability

Definition: “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded”

(courtesy of Merriam-Webster)

At an undetermined point during my youth, I made a decision. Being an INFP and generally anti-confrontation and avoidant of difficult or painful situations, I became more intentional about trying not to put myself in places where I could be hurt or emotionally wounded by others. What better way to avoid pain than by avoiding activities that could involve pain? So what if some of those same activities also had the opportunity for real connection, warmth, love, and healing? Guess I missed out.

The goal was to protect me from any more pain.

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Open Seating

Well before I got interested in photography, I always found myself drawn to empty spaces, to those quiet places. The ones most enticing are those found against the loudest of backdrops. They pull me in with their temptations of possibilities and of unheard and overlooked stories. It’s in the stillness which listening is best done.

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The Art of Miscommunication

In the last few years, the written word has gained increasing importance in how we connect and communicate with people. As we rely on writing over speaking because we all have come to hate phone calls because… reasons. And because we also don’t live in a TV world where friends decide to meet up to chat about the most mundane and vital of topics, we are left with text messages, instant messaging, emails, etc. The problem is we can be terrible at saying what we mean.

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Interruption

Meh sign face

Header image: visual approximation of my feelings in January 2018.

When our daily routines are interrupted, we begin to notice all the things we take for granted. Physical ailments, in particular, remind us that we are not impervious and have limitations. This past month, I’ve been dealing with (a very manageable and mostly pain-free) tooth problem. As soon as the problem surfaced and before I could make it into the dentist for a diagnosis and plan, I took preventative measures in my diet to avoid foods that are crunchy, chewy, sticky or fun in any way. I also only ate on the other side of my mouth. While I’ve slowly regained enough confidence to eat more normally, the first few weeks were taken with tender bites of softer food and filled with non-trivial amounts of yogurt and soup.

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Pressing Forward

Chicago CTA L line

4 years of birthday reflection blog posts

Oh, November. It’s that month of the year that brings the heart of autumn, football, and Thanksgiving. Its mere arrival has wreaked havoc on my heart and mind in the last few years as I have grappled with … myself. However, the 2017 version of November has brought with it less trepidation and fear of its arrival and subsequent storm of internal emotions. The month itself was good, highlighted by time with good friends to celebrate 

This year, in its entirety, was hard, perhaps harder than I gave it credit for in the small moments. In retrospect, I wonder if I tried to do too much at once at the expense of stretching myself in too many directions and getting distracted by all the possibilities and what if’s. Last year, I said I wanted to “quietly figure it out.” I have spent fair amounts of time on my own, reading, and journaling. But have I come to any conclusions or new revelations? I’m not so sure.

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Distracted by Distractions

The Bean - Chicago

Oh,  look at that shiny thing!

Do you ever look back at what you’ve been doing and realize you’ve spent far too much time consumed by stuff that has a lot less worth and long term value than you thought? That’s been my summer for the last week or two, and it’s frustrated me that I have let myself get distracted by distractions. My eyes have been diverted off what’s important. I’m not running in such a way as to win the prize. I’m not giving it my best.

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You Are Who You Are When Everyone’s Watching

“You are who you are when nobody’s watching.”

Stephen Fry

Be on your best behavior! Whether you are a leader in an organization or a parent with kids or someone else altogether, who we are is on display for the world to see and take in, In the minds of others, internal notes and understandings about your character and demeanor are constantly being logged, revised, erased, rewritten, tweaked. In case any of you are wondering, yes I am doing this with some or many of you on a semi-regular basis and reflect on who you are and how you became the person you are today and who you may become in the future. Call me curious about the human condition.

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